Shop for vinyl, including exclusive colorways of 7Seconds' The Crew and a picture disc of Rise Against's Nowhere Generation, via Revolver's store. Quantities are extremely limited — order yours before they're gone!
7Seconds' 1984 album The Crew marked the bold arrival of a new force in hardcore punk. Since forming four years earlier, the Reno, Nevada crew — made up of singer Kevin Seconds, guitarist Dan Pozniak, drummer Troy Mowat and Seconds' brother Steve Youth on bass — had been gaining steam. They had already caught the attention Jello Biafra (who released their 1981 single "Skins, Brains and Guts" on his Alternative Tentacles label), but The Crew was their level-up moment.
The debut full-length album presented 18 blazing hardcore cuts — in just 20 minutes — that confronted racism, homophobia and sexism. It was a fresh take that helped them earn icon status among underground punk fans, and support from luminaries like Minor Threat/Fugazi mainman Ian MacKaye, Circle Jerks' Keith Morris, Bad Religion's Brian Baker and many more.
7Seconds continued to be an active voice in the hardcore scene and released over a dozen albums before calling it quits in 2018.
The band recently announced that the The Crew will be re-released in a deluxe format on June 25th. The new package features a remastered version of that classic album, plus a 20-page booklet presenting an oral history of the band. The reissue also marks the first time The Crew has ever been available on vinyl. The news arrived with a preview of the remastered banger "Young Till I Die."
"'Young Till I Die' was written in '83," states frontman Kevin Seconds in the reissue liner notes. "I was working at a casino and I remember writing the lyrics on the back of a Keno ticket. I was working this eight-hour shift as the guy that gave change out to people playing slot machines. The worst, most depressing job. The only thing that saved me was I was constantly writing lyrics on the back of these Keno tickets."
Rise Against's Joe Principe was just a kid when The Crew was originally released, but the record made a lasting impression on the bassist and songwriter. Below, Principe details his discovery of hardcore, why his feminist upbringing helped him connect with 7Seconds, how the Nevada outfit influenced his Chicago political punk crew and more.
TELL US THE STORY ABOUT HOW YOU FIRST GOT INTO HARDCORE PUNK.
JOE PRINCIPE I got into hardcore punk around the 6th grade. My sister, who is five years older than me, was into it at that time and had a great record collection. I remember sneaking into her room and stealing a cassette … that had three records on it: Dead Kennedys Plastic Surgery Disasters, Circle Jerks Wonderful and Suicidal Tendencies self-titled. I listened to these records over and over again. I loved how crazy the music sounded and instantly connected to the fast tempos with shocking lyrics. Around this same time, I was also getting into skateboarding and 80s punk went hand in hand with the skate scene. I just fell deeper and deeper into both punk and the skate culture. I remember not being able to skate one day due to the Chicago winter and I picked up an acoustic guitar that was laying around my house to learn a power chord. I didn't really think about pursuing music more seriously until a friend of mine asked me to play bass in a band he was starting. I thought it would be kind of fun, so I agreed.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER 7SECONDS?
I would discover bands by reading the liner notes to the records I owned. I would see who that band was thanking. I ended up buying [1985's] Walk Together, Rock Together because 7Seconds' name was everywhere: in Thrasher mag, Flipside zine, Maximum Rocknroll zine, liner notes, stickers on skateboards … So I walked into my local record store and bought the only 7Seconds record the store had. I was immediately blown away. They were fast yet melodic.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST HEAR THE CREW?
I bought The Crew the week following me buying Walk Together, Rock Together. I couldn't get enough. Every song was fast, lyrics were incredibly inspiring, and the melodies were genius. Not to mention, the basslines really stood out for me. Well thought out, well played, and they danced around the vocals in a way that influenced my bass playing immensely.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE 7SECONDS SONG?
It's hard to pick one. "Not Just Boys Fun" is at the top of my list. I was blown away when I first heard the lyrics to that song. Tackling sexism in the mid 80s took guts. I grew up in an all-female household — my father passing away when I was 7 — so I experienced firsthand how badass my mom and sisters were, and are, so that meathead mentality was never OK with me.
AS WELL AS THEIR POSITIVE APPROACH TO LYRICS THAT CONFRONTED RACISM, HOMOPHOBIA, SEXISM AND MORE, 7SECONDS WERE ALSO STRAIGHT EDGE. DID YOU CONNECT WITH THAT IDEOLOGY BACK THEN AS WELL?
Absolutely! I never really subscribed to the whole partying lifestyle even before I knew about straight edge. Discovering bands like 7Seconds, Minor Threat and Youth of Today made me realize there was a scene I could fit into and be accepted.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE 7SECONDS RECORD?
The Crew! It's a melodic hardcore masterpiece. I attribute the way I play bass to this record. Steve Youth's bass playing is so prominent and really shapes the sound of the band. He's one of my bass heroes for sure.
Full disclosure, 7Seconds was the first band I tried to "rip off" when I started writing my own songs. [Laughs] I was fascinated by how their bass lines complemented the vocal melodies and I wanted to carry that into my own songs. So many people hear the guitar and think of the bass as just holding down low end. That may be true for some bands but, in my opinion, the bass in punk separates bands sounds from one another. There are some really unique bass players in punk rock!
HAVE YOU SEEN 7SECONDS PLAY LIVE?
The first time I saw 7Seconds was 1990 on the Soulforce Revolution tour. I wasn't really sure what to expect because they made a real effort to move away from their hardcore sound at this point and move into a more alternative kind of vibe. They came out onstage and Kevin Seconds had really long hair. 16-year-old me was bummed at first but, goddamn, did they destroy the stage. They played songs from their entire catalog. After that show, I opened my mind a bit and fell in love with Soulforce Revolution and later period 7Seconds, in general. They made me realize bands need to evolve, reinvent and create. It's the very essence of being an artist.
DO YOU REGULARLY GO BACK AND LISTEN TO 7SECONDS? OR DO THEY REPRESENT A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME IN YOUR HISTORY?
They are still in heavy rotation for me!
WHERE DOES 7SECONDS' THE CREW RANK FOR YOU AMONG THE 80S HARDCORE CATALOG?
Oh, to put this into perspective. My all-time top five records are: 1) Bad Brains self-titled, 2) Minor Threat Complete Discography, 3) 7Seconds The Crew, 4) Circle Jerks Group Sex and 5) Descendents Milo Goes to College.